DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gran Turismo 5 - Darkmatters Review

Gran Turismo 5
Gran Turismo 5 – PS3

Developed by Polyphony Digital

Published by Sony

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

You see the corner closing rapidly as the scenery blurs past at blinding speed. You take your foot off the throttle and slam on the brakes. The G-Force from the deceleration immediately dominates your senses – the tyres scream out as if in pain as they battle for grip on the road surface. You’ve picked your racing line and aim for the sweet spot of the corner – the point where centrifugal and cornering forces reach their equilibrium – where all there is left is pure acceleration… This is the essence of Gran Turismo 5, this is the ‘Real Driving Simulator’…

OK so GT5 is finally here. Over five years of painstaking development time, delayed so often that it made grown men weep with anticipation as the hype reached proportions that made Halo look ‘meh’. Having sold over 56 million units worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo franchise is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital have pretty much revolutionised the racing category as we know it today. GT games bring the most realistic driving simulation you can find on a console and give a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products. So, with much pressure comes much responsibility for Polyphony Digital to deliver the ultimate racing sim and with so many preorders expectation is running at an all-time high…

Gran Turismo 5

And now we have it so is it any good?

I can still remember the first time I played Gran Turismo – on my brother in-law’s original PlayStation circa 1997. I had a Sega Saturn and was mid-way through telling him how much better Daytona USA was than anything on the Sony machine when he loaded it up. In the next few hours everything changed… I loved it, but then my first word was ‘car’ – not ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ but ‘car’!?

When Gran Turismo made the jump to PS2, I was there straight away and likewise I was at the midnight launch of Gran Turismo 5 where I won a Signature Edition of the game – the omens were good!

Gran Turismo 5
"yeah - that's my copy..."

First things first then, Gran Turismo 5 is an astonishing achievement – (un)charting new territories in visual wonder, the new ‘premium’ cars are shiny models that could make even the most car adverse person drool in awe. Taking these babies for a spin through some of the greatest cities in the world is an experience which will flood you with auto-endorphins as streetlights or sunlight (depending on the time of day) reflect off the polished sheen of your automobile. Alas not all the 1000+ cars are built to this level of jaw-dropping detail. There are many ‘ported’ cars from GT4 and you can add more from the PSP version – these cars are ok but stand out miles compared to the premium ones in terms of graphical fidelity.

But looks aren’t everything and even the most eye-popping visuals can’t make up for shoddy gameplay. Fortunately Gran Turismo 5 keeps the ‘tried and tested’ gameplay that has served the series so well up until now and upgrades the wealth of options to a point unmatched by any other console racing title.

Gran Turismo 5
Hungry to jump into a performance care straight away? Head for the ‘Arcade mode’ which is ready and waiting to entertain. If however you’re keen to work through the fabled GT Career - which is like a car based RPG - then you’ll get to earn your licences, build up cash and experience points through racing to unlock / buy better cars.

The GT5 physics engine is crazy realistic, there is a real feeling that each car is handling as you’d expect it to in real life which is much more noticeable than in the arcade flavoured games such as Need for Speed where each car is basically just either a faster or slower model with essentially very similar handling.

So it looks great and plays beautifully (and is a dream if you invest in a decent steering wheel controller) but there are some tasty new elements added this time too. First up is car damage – a feature never before allowed in the world of Gran Turismo due to real world manufacturers not really wanted people seeing their cars mangled in such explicit detail. GT5 brings the damage, which is great on the premium cars and not even really noticeable on the standard ones. It may affect your driving style though when you see the prices of repairs after a heavy bout of paint trading with opponents!?

The online portion has been upgraded – and although the servers are struggling at the moment with the Call of Duty levels of people trying to get onto them – the racing in multiplayer sessions is fun. Sixteen people can race against each other and there are multiple options for setting up your own challenges etc. Speaking of setting up your own things – GT5 has a track builder which allows you design your own course and then race them.

Gran Turismo 5

Another ‘oohhh that’s nice’ feature is using the PS Eye camera to play with ‘head tracking’ which lets you look around when using the cockpit view… And if that wasn’t enough there is also the option to play in stunning 3D – I got to play a rally stage in 3D at Sony Betarooms Event and it really does add something special to the driving experience (although not special enough for my wife to countenance us upgrading to a 3D TV at home!?).

The feeling of burning around the Top Gear Test Track one minute, then drafting behind your opponent in a tense NASCAR showdown the next before going on to rain drenched F1 race is amazing. As is the satisfaction of tuning and building up your own garage of cars, photographing them and re-watching your spectacular saved films of your greatest victories…

Is Gran Turismo 5 perfect? Not quite – there have been many reviewers out there getting hung up on ‘odd looking shadows’ or moaning about the standard cars… But to be critical of Gran Turismo 5’s small issues is to miss the overall point, kind of like refusing to go out with a supermodel because she has odd toenail…
GT5 is an awesome game, it stands head and shoulders above any other racing game on the market and should be top of every car / racing game fan’s Christmas list.

Overall: Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 car porn experiences out of 10)

"If GT5 was a girl - it would probably be Amber Heard!"

Is it real or is it GT5??

Monday, November 22, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 (12a)

Dir. David Yates

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Hold on to your wizarding hats mudbloods - young Mr Potter is back in this first part of cinematic finale of the much loved magical series. It’s been a long journey towards the final showdown between Harry ‘the boy who lived’ Potter and his evil nemesis Lord ‘he who must not be named’ Voldermort, but any fans looking for closure will have to tune in again next year. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part one is a bridging film that sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) running about trying to find the seven Horcruxes - enchanted objects containing parts of Voldemort's soul. But that’s not all, although is it just me or is two and half hours just to find one Horcrux a bit excessive?, there are also the ‘Deathly Hallows’ — another set of magical objects to be found too.
harry potter ginny kiss
"always time for a magical quick snog"

The Deathly Hallows are made up of The Elder Wand - the most powerful wand ever made, The Resurrection Stone – which can bring loved ones back from the dead and The Cloak of Invisibility (which Harry had in earlier films). Together, these items are the Deathly Hallows and are rumoured to make one ‘master of death’ – and so are integral to the plot even though they really haven’t been mentioned much up until now...

Anyway, while the audience grow old waiting for the final battle, here we get to tread water in the classy company of John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs and Bill Nighy…

Director David Yates (whose been making the Potter films since ‘Order of the Phoenix’) does an ok job with this tale which will be incomprehensible to newcomers but will please those who hold Harry and his magical adventures dear. It feels a little odd to not have the action centered around Hogwarts but at least a whizz bang high speed chase at the beginning of the film and a character death towards the end mean that there are a couple of memorable scenes.

"Harry, Ron, I feel bad for the viewers hoping to see the battle!?"

Screenwriter Steve Kloves keeps the general feel Twilight–esq gloomy while the friendship of the main trio is believably tested (anyone who has spent more than a week together in a tent will probably relate even if there weren’t being hunted by Death Eaters).The visual effects are mostly excellent too – so The Deathly Hallows part one feels like a good looking but deeply unnecessary exercise in spinning out the story and making loads of cash from the faithful viewers. It’s certainly much better than the weak Half-Blood Prince, but hopefully this is a mere taster as to what the final film will deliver next year when the battle really kicks off and we get to wish a bittersweet farewell to Harry and his chums.


Hermione gets so fed up with camping with Harry n Ron that she goes off and starts a modelling career in the muggle world... The boys can't believe it when they see her on the front cover of FHM!?

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 magical bits and bobs out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 7 / Babes 8 (emma) / Comedy 6 / Horror  / Spiritual Enlightenment 2
"This was Hermione back in the first film"

"This is the Deathly Hallows Hermione"

"Emma Watson - ready to look good whenever!"

More Harry Potter / Emma Watson in the Darkmatters review of HALF BLOOD PRINCE

Darkmatters review of ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

Darkmatters review of GOBLET OF FIRE

Darkmatters interview with Harry Potter Kids

Rare Exports brings a darker Santa for Christimas

 Matt Adcock from Darkmatters here to warn you that 'Santa' comes to cinemas DEC. 3rd. You’d better watch out - or at least watch the trailer below!!

Written and Directed by: Jalmari Helander

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 82 minutes

Here's the blurb:

In the depths of Lapland’s Korvatunturi Mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up.

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not shout, I’m telling you why... Based on the award winning shorts of director Jalmari Helander that have already acquired a cult reputation in the internet, Santa Claus is coming to town in a never-before-seen Christmas fantasy thriller.

He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good...

This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Darkmatters - SingStar: Guitar

singstar guitar sexy

SingStar: Guitar – PS3

Developed by Sony London Studio

Published by Sony

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“The fire in your eyes, keeps me alive...”

Ah can there be anything better than rocking on guitar out to ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ by The Cult – a vocalist beside you giving it their all – people watching, jaws agape at the profound awesomeness that they are witnessing? Well, there’s more where that came from and it’s yours for the bargain price of just over a tenner.

I was a bit skeptical about SingStar Guitar – I mean it’s not like we haven’t got Guitar Hero and Rock Band etc for virtual strumming amusement is it… But SingStar is a quality brand – unmatched in the realm of videogame karaoke and so I gave it a go with an open mind (using my trusty old plastic guitar from Guitar Hero III – in fact it seems pretty friendly with most existing guitar add ons).

First impressions are that SingStar Guitar is a super slick addition to the much loved Sony sing-em-up franchise and for once the first impressions are right… This doesn’t seem to be going after the core Rock Band market, more SingStar Guitar offers a perfect way to add to guitar action to your SingStar system without having to splash too much cash.
The gameplay adds a note path on one side of the screen (or two note paths if you wanna rock with 2 guitars) – whilst the main singing area is as before showing the words over either the officially licenced video or the feed from your PS Eye.

singstar ps3
"sing and strum - a perfect combination!"

SingStar Guitar packs 30 songs on the disc and has already started adding ‘Guitar Enhanced’ tracks to the impressive online SingStore which is unrivalled in offering not just additional music tracks for your gaming pleasure but also themes and extras – all seamlessly integrated in the thriving SingStar community. Music choices of note on the disc (in addition to the fantastic Cult track) include: The Love Cats by The Cure, Song 2 by Blur, Ever Fallen In Love With Someone by The Buzzcocks, Kiss With a Fist by Florence and the Machine, I predict a riot by Kaiser Chiefs, Fire by Kasabian, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse, Debaser by The Pixies and Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie.

You can sing and play guitar if you’re so minded – but will need a mike stand. The real joy however comes from rocking with friends and family. I kicked off a solo burst of Pixies and pretty soon had the whole family singing and playing along (wife on duet vocals, sons on guitars) on ‘Under Pressure’…

Setting up is simple and the load times for each track pleasingly quick. Your performance is scored out of 10,000 points total with players contributing their share. Also you can’t actually ‘fail’ a song which pleased my younger son who gets frustrated with Guitar Hero when he only makes it half way through a track… There are even some new guitar trophies which are pretty easy to nail so you’ll add a bit of kudos to your online PSN profile.

SingStar is the AAA music game to beat and adding guitars to the already winning formula just makes it even better. This is the perfect addition for any PS3 owners (and if you don’t own a PS3 by now – why the hell not!!??) who already has some sort of guitar controller – now if you’ll excuse me I have to shred U2’s Beautiful Day!?

Overall: Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 powerchord solos out of 10)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Darkmatters hearts Kevin Butler who made Gran Tursimo 5 awesome

You know this...

Kevin Butler made Gran Tursimo 5 awesome

Matt Adcock - seriously looking forward to GT5

Do the words 'can't wait' mean anything to you...

Check out this vid too:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Skyline

Skyline tasty special effects

Skyline (15)

Dirs. Colin Strause and Greg Strause (The brothers Strause)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Our first encounter will be our last stand...”

Run for the hills – the alien invasion might just have begun and it looks pretty lovely. There are sparkling blue lights falling from the heavens all across the globe and surprisingly it isn’t even an advertising campaign for Sony’s Blu-Ray packing PS3, no, this is an Independence Day scale invasion of our little planet.

We join the action in Los Angeles where heroic Jarrod (Eric ‘that bloke from 24 who doesn’t make it’ Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie ‘hit US medic show Trauma’ Thompson) are visiting successful pal Terry (Donald ‘Scrubs’ Faison). Their partying is cut short when in the early hours following Terry’s lavish birthday bash ET and his pals gate crash our atmosphere.

Do the invaders (at least some of whom look a lot like the Sentinels from The Matrix) come in peace?

"Earth's last stand might not last that long!?"

In a word ‘no’ – these bad boys are here to harvest our brainstems and those lovely blue beams? They are clever devices which entrance anyone who looks at them and then sucks them up to the waiting spaceships to be processed.

Skyline was made on a very low budget but somehow the directors (working hard to make amends for their terrible crime against cinema Alien vs Predator: Requiem) deliver some tasty special effects. Alas the rest isn’t up to the visual look of the film, the budget limitations mean that for every impressive alien, the payoff is that we get to spend a lot of time in the same few locations.

So it’s best to just let the visually pleasing and highly destructive alien attacks wash over you. The whole concept is vaguely ‘Cloverfield’ like in that our main characters aren’t the heroes fighting back, these are just average Joes witnessing unprecedented events.

There are certainly some action scenes that will stay with you – pick of the bunch is an excellent fighter plane assault on one of the large alien craft in which you half expect to spot Will Smith leading the plucky squadron.

Jarrod Eric Balfour
"Hmmm - seems you've been watching too much X-Factor"

But Skyline isn’t a feel good movie, and the bleakness of our human incapacity to oust the aliens certainly hasn’t gone down well in the US where they simply don’t like to lose to anyone. Maybe the very silly pre-sequel set up will see an upturn in the chances of human survival??


The cast of Indepence Day team up with those from Skyline to mount a bigger scale fight back... still doesn't work!!?

Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 alien ass kickings out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 6 / Babes 6 / Comedy 4 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 2

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gran Turismo® 5 Release Date Confirmed

Gentlemen START YOUR ENGINES... Gran Turismo® 5 Release Date Confirmed

Matt Adcock

The most highly anticipated racing game will be in your hands by Christmas

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe confirms to Darkmatters: Gran Turismo® 5 will go on sale across the UK from Wednesday 24th November 2010.

“Gran Turismo 5 is an ambitious project, with challenges and complexities which have made it our version of the Apollo Space Programme!” commented Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital Inc. “When we created the original Gran Turismo back in 1997, we wanted to set a completely new precedent for the racing genre. With the technological leap onto PlayStation 3, our objective with GT5 was to create another great revolution which would not only satisfy our own high expectations, but would meet or even exceed the anticipation of the fans. Satisfying the loyal Gran Turismo followers is at the heart of all of our efforts, which is why it was such a difficult decision to delay the release of the game, and one which we did not take lightly. I can only apologise to everyone for making you wait so long, and I hope that when you try out the wealth of driving experiences available in Gran Turismo 5, you will not be disappointed.”

"nothing can compare to the pure GT5 feeling!!"

In Gran Turismo 5, you can tackle the world’s most famous racetracks, rendered in high definition that is as vivid as the real thing, and get behind the wheels of some of the most legendary cars in motor racing from past to cutting-edge present. Today, the impressive complete list of over 1,000 in-game cars was unveiled, including the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, the Lexus LFA and the McLaren MP4-12C. The full track list was also revealed, which will see players going head to head on famous legacy circuits such as Autumn Ring, Deep Forest Raceway and the Grand Valley Speedway, plus renowned real-life circuits such as Nurburgring and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

For more information on Gran Turismo 5 visit: http://www.gran-turismo.com/

About the Gran Turismo® Franchise

With more than 56 million units shipped worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation® , PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation® Portable) is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.

About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, over 38 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 146.1 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 62.7 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, over 54 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1.1 billion items have been downloaded.

More information about PlayStation products can be found at http://www.playstation.com/.

PlayStation, the PlayStation logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. PS3 and PSP are trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Probably the best cinema experience in the world!

Kelly Brook ... delivers in the cinema!?
"the auditions for Piranha 3DD were going well..."

Darkmatters hearts that 'Best Cinema Experience In The World'

Matt Adcock

Carlsberg and Sky 3D treated a London cinema audience to the most incredible experience last week when Kelly Brook made a surprise live appearance.

Cinema-goers at the Clapham Picture House were left stunned when the actress and model appeared through a side-door half-way through an advert to promoting the partnership between Carlsberg and Sky 3D, in which she was featured. The astonished audience applauded in delight as they were served Carlsberg by Kelly, who was wearing a classic 1950’s usherette style red satin outfit.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Let Me In

Let Me In (15)

Dir. Matt Reeves

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Just so you know, we can't be friends...”

Prepare yourself for the best horror film of the year. Let Me In (a remake of excellent Swedish masterpiece ‘Let The Right One In’) does for vampires something that a million Twilights, True Bloods or Vampire Diaries can only hope to – it grips the very soul of the viewer and never lets go.

If you’ve seen Let The Right One In you may be sceptical that a US remake could come anywhere near to capturing the haunting, dreamlike understanding of the acute alienation experienced by damaged tweenagers. But from the icy, snow covered New Mexico opening shot, to the unnervingly hopeful very last frame, Let Me In somehow manages to add a compelling new slant on the source material from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel.

Let Me In is the story of twelve year old Owen (Kodi ‘The Road’ Smit-McPhee, who looks like a young Gareth Bale). Bullied unmercifully at school and drifting apart from his newly single mother, Owen is a lost soul in desperate need of a friend. It seems his lonely prayers have been answered when Abby (Chloe ‘Kick Ass’ Grace Moretz) moves into his block of apartments. Cool, confident and adverse to wearing shoes – even in the snow, there is something special about Abby, something different, something dangerous.

The two children carry this bittersweet story on their young shoulders and both deliver amazingly assured performances. In Let Me In the adults take a back seat and director Reeves even cleverly keeps Owens’ mother’s face always just out of focus as a clue to his sense of disconnect with her. Other adults in the plot include Richard Jenkins as Abby’s ‘Father’ and Elias Koteas as the detective tracking the escalating string of unexplained grisly murders – both supply quality, understated support.

"It's just that I've been 12 for a very long time"

This is a deep dark tale, that takes in gut wrenching violence one moment and sweet shared youthful friendship the next. If you haven’t seen the original I’d recommend seeing Let Me In first as it is probably more accessible (my wife said that ‘Let The Right One In’ was probably the freakiest thing she had ever seen).

Matt Reeves has created a fantastic, tragic, heartbreaking classic horror experience that will stand with Near Dark and The Lost Boys as one of the coolest vampire films of all time. Gird yourself and seek out Let Me In as soon as possible (then buy Let The Right One In on DVD too!).


Abby meets Edward Cullen from Twilight and beats the living daylights out of him for being such a pussy.

Burke and Hare are given a mandate to wipe out all the Scots

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 quality vampire bites out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 9 / Babes 7 / Comedy 6 / Horror 8 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4

"Eat some now, save some for later..."

 Watch the trailer here

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Inbetweeners Series 3

Inbetweeners Series 3 (18)
 Dir. Ben Palmer (eps 1 -5), Damon Beesley & Iain Morris (ep 6 ‘The Camping Trip)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

If you have yet to witness the trailblazing cultural comedy phenomenon that is the multi award-winning ‘Inbetweeners’ – you’re in for a treat.
Even if you’re an avid follower – you should be excited about the third, hotly anticipated and much enjoyed series hitting DVD fresh from its run on e4.

The Inbetweeners is all about four friends, Will McKenzie (Simon Bird), Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas), Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) and Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison). We join them as they try hopelessly to navigate their way through school sixth form, with their male hormones running riot. Looking cool, impressing girls and generally ‘having a laugh’ is their mission and it is a full on bittersweet blast watching the hilarious results.

"you'll love it"

Will is the show's narrator – having to cope with his parents’ divorce and being moved from a privileged posh private school to the Sixth Form at Rudge Park Comprehensive School. Series 3 kicks off with Will going on a double date with Simon, Tara (Hannah ‘little sister of Kara’ Tointon ) Simon’s new girlfriend), and Tara's friend, ‘Big’ Kerry who has a reputation for orally pleasuring her boyfriends. Things don’t go well – but that’s the deal for the Inbetweeners who channel pretty much every embarrassing, painful and just plain wrong experience that teenage boys have to deal with to superb comic effect. Things don’t get a lot better for Will in this final series – but hey – at least he’s got a fantastically attractive MILF mum (Belinda Stewart-Wilson – giving 39 year old women everywhere hope of becoming the lust objects for a new generation of teens).

Series 3 sees Simon in love with cool new girl Tara – even though he still harbours feelings for his life-long crush Carli D’Amato (Emily Head) whilst Jay is still just as obsessed with sex, lying about his conquests and dishing out questionable 'advice' to his friends. Things come to a head when Simon's parents tell him that the whole family are moving to Swansea in a couple of weeks – leaving him distraught as he will have no mates and never see Carli again. Finally there’s Neil who in Series 3 finds out that he might have got a girl pregnant, enjoys the most cringe worthy 18th Birthday ever and dispenses classic gaming advice along the lines of “Wii’s are for girls and children – should have got a PS3!”.
"Simon's new girlfriend"

The series rips along in the same vulgar, hilarious manner as the first two and comes packing some megaton unforgettable scenes. The extras are great too – especially seeing the out-takes and deleted scenes, listening to the commentaries and watching the funny video diaries. There’s enough Inbetweener genius in the extras to make this disc a ‘must buy’ even if you’ve only just finished watching the series on TV!

From Simon’s all time classic ‘wardrobe malfunction’ whilst taking part in the school fashion show, to Will trying desperately to live down being the ‘kid who shat himself in the exam’, via Jay’s problem with self-abuse / his dog’s attentions and Neil’s incontinence when drunk – Series 3 is the Inbetweeners at their messy, gross out and hilarious best.

With friends like these you might squirm at the balls-out situations they find themselves in but you’ll never laugh alone!

Overall: Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 high school high jinks out of 10)

Read this review and more over at: Frank The Monkey

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

God of War: Ghost of Sparta

God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)

Developed by: Ready at Dawn

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

This is SPARTA!!!! – in the palm of your hand!

Warriors behold, a glorious new blood soaked reality awaits you – take hold of your trusty PSPs and charge forward into the fight. God of War: Ghost of Sparta sees Sony’s portable handheld PlayStation deliver something over and above what anybody might have hoped for. This is a ‘real’ God of War game, a meaty, violent and supremely satisfying ‘slaughter-em-up’ which shows just what the PSP is capable of.

If you’ve ever wanted to feel the adrenalin rush of intense battle, you might not expect a handheld game to be the best new place to find that testosterone overload focus of pure carnage which will make you feel like a MAN (whatever sex you are!? God of War III showed that when it comes hard bastard heroes, nobody comes close to Kratos – you can keep your space marines, soldiers and RPG fantasy warriors – this guy is the real deal – for behold – he is the God of War.

The Ghost of Sparta plot sees you as Kratos seeking answers about your past and finding out interesting developments such as your brother, Deimos needs saving form none other than Thanatos - God of Death. This cues up an excellent rampage of biblical proportions as you Leviathans, Gods, Kings and a whole host of angry legendary creatures. When Kratos is finished with them however, even the mightiest are left as crumpled bloody dismembered heaps because he is one action hero that doesn’t mind getting down and dirty with his huge upgradable weapons.

If you’ve ever played a God of War game, then you’ll be immediately home – chop, hack and stab enemies, reaping their green (health) and red (upgrade) orbs, Battle insane bosses where you’ll need fast reactions to employ the satisfying mini game take downs. Unleash magical attacks to rip through hordes of enemies or decimate hold as nail opponents… It’s all good!

The controls are kept simple with face button light and heavy attacks backed up with magic mapped to the D-pad. Special attacks can be brought into play with the triggers as well as using them for evading etc. It is a quality ‘pick up and play’ set up which is quick to feel like second nature and yet has a hidden level of depth once you start unlocking various combos etc. The PSP’s analog nub might not be the best joystick ever but it does the job and the developers have crafted the controls to be very responsive.

"meet my hot blades of death..."

For those who like to use a little brain power amidst carnage there are still some mild puzzle elements but these are not ones to stump you mid battle. Ghost of Sparta is wildly enjoyable, it is a standard bearer as to just what the PSP can deliver and it even has a sex minigame to enjoy…

If you plump for the download option (which I tried) then not only is the gameplay slick and looking gorgeous but there are virtually no loading to be done either… It seems like Ready At Dawn have mastered the PSP and totally made it their good time providing bitch.

If the PSP2 does launch next year, then this will be a very strong reason for Sony to include backwards compatibility… Although we can only dream as to what the next God of War on a more powerful handheld could bring – every PSP owner the world over should invest in Ghost of Sparta – because it is the crowning pinnacle of PSP perfection.

Overall: Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (9 stomping on immortal's gonads out of 10)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Burke and Hare

Burke and Hare (15)

Dir. John Landis

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Caution – police are looking for two suspected mass murderers possibly hiding in your local cinema. The public are being urged to be vigilant and if you see either of them, only approach if you’re looking for some seriously ‘funny business’.

So John ‘An American Werewolf in London’ Landis is back on the big screen with this fun homage to the Hammer / Ealing black comedy films. This tells the tale of William Burke (Simon ‘Hot Fuzz’ Pegg) and William Hare (Andy ‘Lord of the Rings’ Serkis) whose antics became a bit of a murderous sensation back in the early 19th century. These two grisly entrepreneurs set up a lucrative business opportunity providing the Doctors at Edinburgh's medical schools with fresh bodies for their dissection and research – and when there aren’t any newly dead available, they ‘help’ people on their way to that sad state in order to meet demand...

Burke and Hare takes this wonderfully grim premise – based on real events – and lets Pegg and Serkis have lots of fun with the material. The supporting cast is excellent too, it is especially nice to see Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson from Spaced) reunited with Pegg – although it would have been extra cool if Nick Frost could have been cast here too. It’s not often that you find a film about serial killers randomly dispatching members of the public to order played for laughs. Everything swings along nicely enough, as the two main characters come across not as evil but more as bumbling fools who just happen to stumble into a life of mass murder. Their motives are at least not wholly reprehensible, Burke is smitten with sexy actress Ginny (Isla Fisher - who's perky boobs should be up for a 'best support' Oscar next year - see below), who flirts with him in order to get him to finance her all-female production of MacBeth.

"Isla buy that for a dollar..."

The authorities are presented as absurd thanks to the local militia being led by the ridiculous pint sized Captain McClintock (Ronnie Corbett). As the noose tightens around the necks of the two hero killers you can’t help but be moved by the fact that none of the esteemed doctors who paid for the bodies and didn’t ask any questions about ‘how’ they arrived so fresh are given anything more than a cursory slap on the wrists.

In the end what Burke and Hare delivers is a horror comedy with heart and enough funnies to make it worth a look – especially in the face of the weak Saw 3D or ‘just not scary’ Paranormal Activity 2 for alternative ‘scary’ viewing. Although anyone looking for a more serious and quality scare should be checking ‘Let Me In’ (review next week!).


Burke and Hare are given a mandate to wipe out all the Scots

Darkmatters rating: öööööö (7 dead for profits out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 6 / Style 7 / Babes 7 / Comedy 7 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 2